Christmas is a magical time, but often, the build-up doesn’t live up to the actual day (or moment).
As a kid, Christmas mornings were wonderful. My brother and I would wake up early to open gifts, but could only access our stockings until the other members of the family arrived. Then the true Christmas present opening would begin.
It is a unique feeling, that anticipation. I don’t think I have ever again witnessed that 6 a.m. eagerness waiting for the last relative to walk up the sidewalk before the living room doors were opened to the fully lit Christmas tree and gifts.
Christmas is an ever-changing tradition. During our late teens and twenties we undergo a holiday transformation from being mostly a gift receiver to a full-time gift giver. Later, as a parent, there’s a lot of work involved in pulling off a flawless Christmas morning as it becomes all about the kids.
These days I’ve grown to appreciate the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day even more than the actual day. It’s what I call “the week between.”
I love the week between. It sill feels like Christmas. The decorations are still up and the traffic is gone. Life moves slower during the week between.
There is a different energy in the neighborhood during the week between. The hectic bustle is gone. Kids are playing with toys. Shoppers are taking advantage of sales. The immediacy of the pre-Christmas stress is not hanging thick in the air. It’s a time to kick back and enjoy family and friends in a less stress-filled environment.
I always take off from work during the week between, but I still go in to the office. I give everyone else the week off so no one is around. The office is quiet, and I can get a lot of work accomplished.
Here are my Top Ten favorite things about the week between:
10.) Eating all of the Christmas goodies and gifts friends dropped off before Christmas.
9.) The occasional afternoon nap.
8.) Watching kids playing with gifts they received on Christmas morning. Better still, playing with the toys and gifts the kids received (mostly getting schooled by my 12-year old son while playing his video games).
7.) NFL playoffs
6.) NCAA college football bowl games
5.) Catching up on all of the new movies at the theatre.
4.) Sleeping late (at least until 7 a.m.).
3.) Bonus time with the kids
2.) Bonus time with the wife.
1.) Leftover smoked turkey sandwiches.
Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and have a blessed and relaxing week between.
1 Tbl Bacon grease (or canola oil)
1 cup Onion, small dice
1 /2 cup Bell pepper, small dice
1 /2 cup Celery, small dice
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 /2 cup Pimentos, diced and minced
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Garlic, granulated
4 cups Mushroom Béchamel Sauce
3 /4 cup Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 /4 cup Jack cheese, grated
1 /2 cup Sour cream
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
3 cups Leftover turkey, diced
1 lb Spaghetti
4 qts Turkey broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet melt bacon grease over medium heat. Sauté onions, peppers, celery and garlic for 4-5 minutes. Add pimentos, salt, granulated garlic and leftover turkey. Cook three to four more minutes. Remove mixture from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the mushroom béchamel sauce, sour cream, Worcestershire and cheeses. Mix well. Bring turkey broth to a boil in a large stockpot. Cook the spaghetti in broth for approximately 12 minutes. Drain spaghetti and transfer to the meat mixture. Mix well and place into a buttered three-quart baking dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Serve immediately. Yield: 8-10 servings
1 Tbl Olive oil, light
1 /2 cup Onion, minced
1 /4 cup Shallot, minced
1 /4 cup Celery, minced
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic, granulated
1 /2 tsp Thyme, dry
10 oz Mushrooms, cleaned, sliced (4 cups)
3 cups Chicken broth
1 /2 cup Butter
3 /4 cup Flour
1 cup Whipping cream
Heat oil in a three-quart saucepot over low heat. Add onions, shallots, celery, and salt. Cook vegetables until tender. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken broth, garlic and thyme. Bring back to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes.
In a separate skillet, make a light-blonde roux by melting butter and stirring in flour. Add to simmering broth mixture. Cook three to four minutes and add cream. Freezes well. Yield: two quarts